This is Indonesia in the raw, with the emphasis on appreciating
the authentic local culture, landscapes and wildlife. As a result,
this is a far cry (and compelling contrast) from the immaculate
hotels and luxurious lifestyle available on Bali - don't expect
seven star accommodation, on the island of Flores you'll more
likely be staying in a guesthouse where local nuns might join you
for the night.
The lack of creature comforts is all well worth it when
exploring the otherwise inaccessible surroundings, with particular
highlights being the bizarrely morphing coloured crater lakes at
Kelimutu, and trekking to the traditional village of Belaragi.
But arguably the greatest attraction, despite the island's name,
is not the flora but the fauna, and in particular the vast colonies
of bats, and, on the neighbouring islands of Komodo and Rinca, the
eponymous dragons. Seeing these extraordinary beasts in the wild is
pretty unbeatable, and beneath the waves of the Komodo National
Park lies further giant creatures, this time mantas and whale
sharks, and some of the best diving in the region.
Now whilst travelling overland in Flores is for the hardy and
adventurous, exploring the islands, beaches and reefs of the Komodo
Islands archipelago can be done in relative luxury - particularly
if sailing on some of the luxurious Phinisi Schooner boats that ply
these waters from April to October each year.